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When a Ban Is Not a Ban: Institutional Work and the Russian Doping Scandal

Mathew Dowling, Spencer Harris, and Marvin Washington

There are fewer cases of such blatant acts to defy and subsequent heroic efforts to rearrange institutional norms than the Russian doping scandal. In adopting a neo-institutional perspective, the authors theorize the scandal as a case of attempted but failed institutional disruption. More specifically, the authors draw upon the institutional change literature and the institutional work perspective to explain the key events surrounding actors’ response to the scandal. The analysis utilized Gioia’s methodological approach to examine secondary empirical data. Findings reveal how stakeholders circumvented traditional governance structures in an attempt to disrupt institutional arrangements, but despite this, much of the preexisting institutional infrastructure has remained intact. The authors explain this outcome, in part, as a consequence of the counter-institutional work of key governing agencies and other actors to maintain the status quo within international sport.

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Addressing the Complexity of Violence Against Women in Sport: Using the World Café Method to Inform Organizational Response

Kirsty Forsdike and Simone Fullagar

In this article, we discuss the process and outcomes arising from a unique collaboration involving researchers and professionals to explore key gaps and challenges in sport organizations’ responses to violence against women. Using the World Café method in a 1-day research forum in Victoria, Australia, we brought together state sport organizations, violence against women organizations, and multidisciplinary researchers to reflect upon the multiple contexts that shape violence against women in community sport. Drawing together insights from feminist research and a socioecological perspective, this article contributes to sport management scholarship by using an innovative methodology for collaborative knowledge sharing and creation to explore the challenges and opportunities for organizational action to address violence against women. We advance a gendered lens for understanding how power relations shape sport management practice contexts as well as future research into organizational thinking, research, and responses to violence against women.

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Broadcaster Choice and Audience Demand for Live Sport Games: Panel Analyses of the Korea Baseball Organization

Kihan Kim, Hojun Sung, Yeayoung Noh, and Kimoon Lee

This study investigated the determinants of television viewership and its relation to broadcasters’ choices of matches for live telecasts. Also, factors driving the broadcasters’ choices were examined. A panel data set from the 2018 Korea Baseball Organization league pennant race was analyzed. Broadcasters’ choice order of matches and the actual television ratings of each match were regressed on a series of antecedent factors related to the game characteristics and audience preferences. It was found that the broadcasters’ choice order of matches positively affected the television ratings, suggesting that the broadcasters’ decisions were well reflected in the actual viewership. It also appeared that broadcasters’ choices were based on popularity and team performance/quality, whereas viewers showed preference for current games’ on-field performance. There was no evidence of audience preference for games with higher outcome uncertainty, whereas the broadcasters tended to choose games with more certain, rather than uncertain, outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings were discussed.

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Institutional Theory in Sport: A Scoping Review

Jonathan Robertson, Mathew Dowling, Marvin Washington, Becca Leopkey, Dana Lee Ellis, and Lee Smith

Institutional theory has generated considerable insight into fundamental issues within sport. This study seeks to advance Washington and Patterson’s review by providing an empirical review of institutional theory in sport. We follow Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping review protocol to identify 188 sport-related institutional studies between 1979 and 2019. Our review provides evidence regarding the state of institutional scholarship within sport via an analysis of authorship, year, journal, methodology, method, study population, and use of institutional constructs (legitimacy, isomorphism, change, logics, fields, and work). Rather than a hostile takeover or a joint venture proposed in Washington and Patterson’s review, the relationship between fields is more aptly described as a diffusion of ideas. By developing an empirical review of institutional studies in sport, we hope to expedite the diffusion of ideas between the two fields and work toward realizing the collective benefits any future joint venture may bring.

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Volume 35 (2021): Issue 6 (Nov 2021)

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Finding Joy in the Journey: Sustaining a Meaningful Career in Sport Management

Marlene A. Dixon

In her 2020 Earle F. Zeigler Award address, Marlene Dixon presented and discussed five elements of a sustained career in academia: Lifelong Learning, Authenticity, Relational Mentoring, Work-Life Balance, and Faithfulness. Dixon suggests that remaining open to new learning and taking risks helps increase capacity and vigor. Authenticity brings richness, voice, durability, and purpose. Relational mentoring brings connection, community, enrichment, and longevity. Cultivating work-life balance, rest, and self-care not only helps avoid burnout, but also improves creativity, playfulness, and liveliness. Finally, leveraging the extended metaphor from Tolkein’s Leaf by Niggle, Dixon argues that faithfulness, rather than visibility or measurable outcome, defines the meaning and value of our work and contribution not only to science, but also to our life circles.

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A Framework of Strategic Approaches to Membership Growth in Nonprofit Community Sport

Kristen A. Morrison and Katie E. Misener

Engaging in strategic planning may help leaders of community sport organizations (CSOs) to develop strategic thinking as well as build capacity to sustain and expand their programs despite environmental uncertainty. This study proposes a framework for understanding how the membership growth strategies of CSOs are shaped based on their environment. Semi-structured interviews with presidents of CSOs, alongside analysis of strategic plan documents, were used to identify strategic imperatives that CSO leaders considered when formulating their organizational strategies. These imperatives were grouped into two dimensions: organizational readiness for growth and environmental dynamism. These dimensions were then juxtaposed to create a matrix of four strategic approaches: Trailblazers, Enhancers, Maintainers, and Carers. Each approach is described in detail and implications for strategic management in community sport are discussed.

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The Gradual Normalization of Behaviors Which Might Challenge Ethical and Professional Standards in Two British Elite Sports Organizations

Niels Boysen Feddersen and Simon Edward Phelan

We examined how two elite British sports organizations began accepting behaviors that might challenge ethical and professional standards. The data for the current paper came from two separate ethnographic studies. We used Alvesson and Einola’s Functional Stupidity to analyze the data for processes of a lack of reflexivity, lack of justification, and a lack of substantial reasoning presented in three vignettes for each case organization. We then carried out a cross-case analysis and showed that periods of significant change are high risk for the spread of unethical and unprofessional behaviors. The common rationales for accepting such behaviors were (a) you have not spent time in the trenches, (b) it has always been like this, (c) policing space, (d) I am just doing my job, and (e) giving opportunities to those close to me. Our findings suggest a sense of banality to wrongdoing where normal people slipped into ethical problem areas.

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Female Sports Officials and Mental Health: The Overlooked Problem

Jacob K. Tingle, Brittany L. Jacobs, Lynn L. Ridinger, and Stacy Warner

Sporting culture often celebrates mental toughness and chides weakness, which can stigmatize mental health issues. While some sport organizations have prioritized addressing mental well-being, referees have been ignored. Referees work in high-pressure environments; thus, the need to understand, destigmatize, and normalize the conversation around mental health within the referee community and the larger sporting system is important. Because the prevalence of stress-related issues is greater for women, this study focused on female referees’ well-being, interviewing 20 female U.S. basketball referees via a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Participants represented various geographical regions in the United States and officiated at levels ranging from high school to professional. Findings revealed Gendered Aggressions negatively impacted the referees, mental health issues are Stigmatized, and more Resources and Support are needed. Results also indicated that officiating can be Cathartic. Suggestions for addressing the referee shortage and improving the officiating experience are included.

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Safety and Relational Continuity in Sport for Development With Marginalized Young People

Katherine Raw, Emma Sherry, Katie Rowe, and Shelley Turner

Sport for development (SFD) is often used to engage young people in programs that target a range of issues, such as disengagement or marginalization. However, if designed inappropriately, SFD can do more harm than good by reinforcing social divides or past trauma. Consequently, scholars suggest that future research should delve beyond program impacts and examine the importance of safe spaces within SFD programs. In light of this, we explored how program design, delivery, and staffing can impact the creation and maintenance of a safe space and continuity in an SFD program targeting young people and how this can change over time. Adopting an ethnographic approach, findings highlighted how safety and relational continuity was fostered via social networks, support, belonging, and external opportunities. Conversely, instability and discontinuity became an issue with staff departures and participants’ personal difficulties.